Archive for September, 2011

September 29, 2011

Review: RUSH salon & I’ve sorted out my hair

Thanks to my scary, traumatic experience with hair colour remover (read about that whole mess here) I had a bit of hair-sorting-out to do. I decided to do it at my local RUSH salon, as they have a Wednesday deal thing that I decided to take advantage of. (Read about that at their website, here.)

My hair had naturally toned down a lot from it’s orangey ginger that the colour remover had left it, but it was still way too “warm” (how tactful hairdressers are!) for my liking, so I was told that a very flat brown semi-permanent dye would be best for me, in the free consultation that I had with my stylist when I just walked in to make my appointment. It was nice that I knew exactly what she was going to do, 2 days before she actually did it.

When I turned up yesterday for my appointment, everything was running on time and I was immediately sat in a chair and told, again, exactly what they were going to do. (I was also offered a drink, which is always very nice. I never quite get over the nice surprise of being offered tea; simple pleasures!) Without any messing around, the dye was whacked on and I was left to read the paper for 15 minutes while it got to work. My stylist was very friendly, but not in the frequently irritating hairdresser way that seems so fake; she was genuinely up for a chat, which was nice. One annoying thing was that during this process, I had to move seats 3 times; once because the lights were all malfunctioning on one half of the room, and a bloke was coming to fix them (he ended up having lights dangling from the ceiling, which did look a bit unprofessional) and another time because someone else needed my chair more than I did while my colour was working away on my hair. In fairness, this second one wouldn’t have happened without the first one causing a lack of seats! My stylist and I then had to swoop down on someone else’s chair, almost before they got out of it properly, in order to make sure we could continue. Funny, but not all that professional. Still, it wasn’t their fault.

My hair colour actually turned out a bit too dark for my natural colour, but that wasn’t my stylist’s fault; I was worried that they would make it too light, so I did say that I’d rather it was too dark than too fair, and they were trying to even it out so that no stray “warmth” would still be hanging around my roots. Also, it’s semi-permanent dye, so it’ll fade up. I actually quite like it – I always wondered what I’d look like with darker hair, and now I know.

I got a cut too, in the offer thing; nothing too drastic, just a trim of the ends and cutting down in a V shape at the back, which I really like. I also got my longish side fringe cut back in for fun – it’s almost beret-wearing weather, and they always look cuter with a fringe. (I have an entire drawer full of scarves and berets!) However, I trimmed my fringe myself when I got back; she’d left it slightly too long for my liking, though it did look nice.

The most important thing to me was to dye out the ginger in my hair – RUSH did that perfectly fine. My cut was nothing spectacular – I’ve asked for the same before, and got something much nicer elsewhere – but there’s nothing wrong with it, the stylist was quick and it does look nice. However, I’m not entirely sure that I would get a cut there again, simply because it wasn’t really worth the price. The entire job cost me £70, which is pretty expensive for an experience which is ‘perfectly fine’ rather than ‘great’. I might go back to the same stylist for a re-dye though, because it was quick and worry free.

September 29, 2011

It’s not even Freshers’ Flu

…I’m pretty ill, and I have been for a week now. I’d usually blame it on the freshers at uni with total impunity, but I haven’t actually come into contact with any of them, as far as I know, so that might be a tad harsh this year!

But yeah. Stomach bug. It’s not particularly jolly, I have to say. And it’s lasting a damn long time. On the plus side, the fact that I can’t eat anything is giving me a cracking waist.

I’m joking.

September 22, 2011

On a Happier Note: Lily Cole

If I must be ginger (see previous post!), at least for a while, I think it is only fair and proper that I get to be ginger and look like this lady while I’m at it.

Lily Cole in a blue dress

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I mean, really now. It’s not enough that she has those absolutely cracking legs (I know she kind of has to, she is a model after all, but still!)
And if I’m being ginger for a while, I might want to look extremely sophisticated and stuff. I think I should be allowed to do it like this:

Lily Cole

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And maybe I could look this good with barely-there makeup, and manage to look innocent and cute, and not nuts or silly, while wearing some sort of suspicious flowery thing on my head? Yeah? Thanks, that’ll be great.

Lily Cole with a flower hairpiece

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Gingers unite! (Until I get my hair dyed, then you can all sod off with your beautiful fiery hair.)
I love Lily Cole, and I’m only slightly annoyed that she’s also massively clever and at a better university than me.

September 22, 2011

My Run-in (or Experience) with Scott Cornwall’s Colour B4 Hair Dye Remover

Box of Colour B4

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There it is. There is the beast that ruined my hair!

Well, ok, so it did exactly what it was supposed to do. I’M the one that ruined my hair really. But the way I did it was by using Colour B4!
I dyed my hair a dark red, about a week ago. The colour was beautiful – on top. But on the lengths of my hair (my hair is VERY long) there was definitely some brown peeking through. “A bit patchy” is the less tactful way of putting it. I’d used two boxes of dye, as I knew I’d have to; I really don’t know why my dye wasn’t perfect, as I was extremely careful and I combed it through all evenly. Anyway, even though I liked the colour, I decided it’d been a bad plan and wanted to get back to my natural brown. I was already feeling remorseful for having messed with it at all! I was about to feel a whole lot more remorseful.

I toddled down to Superdrug and bought two boxes of Colour B4. As I’d only just coloured my hair, and I’d had no other dye on it previously, I didn’t go for the hardcore Extra Strength stuff (and I wanted to save my hair any unnecessary trauma). The example on the box is of someone with hair colour very similar to mine, dying it a similar red to the one I did, and then going back to brown. I followed the instructions to the absolute letter, rinsing for a neck-killing 25 minutes in total. As I rinsed my hair, no colour seemed to come out of my hair, which was a bit weird, but my hair looked pretty brown and normal under the water, so I was happily assuming it’d gone back to its original colour. It felt dry as hell, but then I had just stripped out the dye of the day before, so I just conditioned it with an Aussie hair mask.

Then I got out of the shower.

My hair was orange. Most of it was still wet and looked dark, but the roots where I’d combed it through with my fingers were flaming, brighter-than-the-sun orange ginger. Naturally, I burst into tears and called my mum.

While on the phone to her (having to admit that I’d ignored her advice to use natural henna rather than synthetic dye – when will I learn that she is always right?) I re-read the leaflet with the FAQs on. It says there that lots of dyes, even dark-coloured ones, contain peroxide that will pre-lighten your hair; this orange colour is my natural hair colour now! As a first-timer with my dye, I didn’t know that. D’oh. And the example on the box was so like my situation that it never occurred to me, foolish consumerist sheep that I am! 😦

I know that a lot of people have re-dyed their hair straight away and had their previous colour come back. I’d read enough of the leaflet to know not to do that, and so I manned up and allowed my boyfriend to see, as I was going to have to wait at least a week until dyeing back to brown. (I know, the red was lovely, but I’m so traumatised I just want my natural hair back!)
If you’ve done something like this, I can assure you – the ginger does tone down. Right now, if I’m not in natural light, I very much doubt anyone would notice that my hair colour was warmer than before. (I’m writing this 6 days after The Incident.)

My student loan very handily is due to come in 10 days after my mishap – hopefully that’ll be long enough afterwards for me to have my hair re-dyed at a salon. I’m going to run to Toni & Guy and beg them to fix me!

Conclusion: if you’re reading this having had a crisis, don’t panic. You can re-dye using semi-permanent colour immediately (the less permanent the better – 6 wash stuff is best, apparently), and the ginger DOES calm down. Hey, I went to work the next day without having re-dyed at all, and someone told me I looked nice.
However, if you haven’t yet had a crisis with it, you VERY possibly will. Put the box down and step away slowly. Unless you’re absolutely sure that either you don’t mind having to immediately cover it, or that your previous dye(s) didn’t contain any peroxide, it’s a bad move.

ALSO, my hair now stinks of the stuff whenever it’s wet. It is NOT a good smell.

September 22, 2011

Review: Max Factor Max Effect Lip Gloss

Tube of dark pink gloss

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So, firstly, I haven’t posted in a little while. This is for two reasons – I haven’t been at home, I’ve been at my boyfriend’s, and I was there because I had a terrible (but quite funny, looking back) accident with some hair dye and I needed to hide. Don’t worry, I’ll be going into THAT whole shebang later.

Anyway, lip gloss! When I bought this little gem, there weren’t half as many colours in it as there are now. In fact, there were only four. I am very pale, but I have naturally quite pigmented lips and dark hair, so darker, purplier (it’s a word, I promise) colours look better on me as a rule than lighter ones. I so wish I could wear pretty light pinks, but they just look weird on me. So I bought 06 – Cloudy Red. I could already tell it’d be a good colour – but I didn’t realise exactly how much I’d come to love it!

This lip gloss really goes a long way, for a start. You don’t need too much, and I always have to squeeze a bit out onto my finger rather than use the slanted-attempt-at-an-applicator-tip to apply it, because otherwise I just get way too much. It has a very sweet, quite distinctive smell/taste, which I personally love though others may find it a bit too strong. Each colour has a different taste, though, so be sure to sniff before you buy! That may be a bit gimmicky, but I’m a sucker for such things, I’m afraid…

Once it’s on your face, you’ll notice that it’s very slippery and creamy in texture. It doesn’t go tacky; it’s one of those glosses that always feels wet. While this gives a lovely high shine, of course, it does mean that if it’s windy your hair will be stuck to your mouth in no time! But then, that goes for all gloss up to a point – it’s an occupational hazard of having beautiful lips…
My only gripe about this product is that when it fades or wears off, I don’t particularly like the effect that’s left. Some colour/shine does stay on, even after drinking a takeaway coffee, as I found! But I don’t particularly like the texture of colour that’s left on my lips – it looks a little flat and smudgy. However, I’m obviously not expecting it to be all that longlasting, so it’s not a huge minus for me.

The perfect colour and lovely look of this gloss mean that it’s quickly become my most trusted favourite. As it’s quite nude on me, I’m definitely considering going and buying the fabulous bright orange one that I spy on the Max Factor website! I have such a thing for orange, and I already know it’ll be a good quality gloss. I highly recommend this lip gloss; it’ll last you ages, as you get 13ml for £4.99, and now there are loads of different colours and scents to choose from, I’m sure there’s one for everyone!

September 13, 2011

Review: bareMinerals Original Foundation

Pot of powder foundation

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Pot of loose powder

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I know that this isn’t exactly brand-new and hot off the press, but I do get the impression that this brand hasn’t made quite the same splash over here in the UK as it did in America. I could be wrong, but most people I know who know of it, have been told by me!

Anyway, the foundation. Obviously, it’s a loose powder formulation, and in the second image you can see that it comes in a handy little pot with a sifter to stop you wasting product. bareMinerals are always quite keen to flog you their own brushes, but I actually like to apply this with my mini kabuki brush – you can really buff it in properly.
Here’s what the website says about the foundation:

Our ORIGINAL SPF 15 Foundation gives you all the flawless coverage you want with a naturally luminous finish that won’t clump or cake. It’s clinically proven to improve the appearance of your skin over time. The creamy minerals diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles without drying out your skin. Its silky, soft texture looks like a powder, but feels like a cream and buffs on beautifully. Made with only the purest, highest quality ingredients. It’s makeup so pure you can sleep in it.®

And here is the list of ingredients (nice and visible on the site, for once!): Titanium Dioxide 12.6%, Zinc Oxide 21%. In Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide.

Although they do get credit for listing their ingredients so visibly, there’s something about the company that irritates me. I’m well aware this is just a personal thing, and has no reflection on the makeup, but whether it’s the fact that they don’t capitalise the first letter of their name, or whether it’s their over-pushy sales assistants, they just annoy me!

The coverage of this makeup is, as they say, pretty flawless. It’s really very good for a powder foundation. No complaints there at all. However, the ‘luminous finish’ they mention is basically shimmer. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it does my head in. At first, it’s invisible – just a lovely natural look. But after a few hours, if you have any kind of oil on your face at all (and most of us do!) it’ll be super shiny. This shimmer, added to the full coverage, equals a kind of greasy cakey look that I really wasn’t expecting, and I find it really gross. “Makeup so pure you can sleep in it”? Only if you want a shimmery, oily pillow!

This is a known problem, which is why they brought out the matte version of the foundation a little while later. Other than the horrible way it wears, the original one isn’t bad – I think the matte version could well fix my issues with it. I do use it often enough, and just carry around blotting tissues or other powder – £23 is too much to spend for something that I won’t use! But if I’m going out & I know I’ll have a long day, I probably wouldn’t rely on this. Also, I’d like to try the matte version, but the price means that I can’t just pick it up as an extra! I probably won’t purchase again, for a while at least.

September 13, 2011

Review: Sanctuary Matte Perfecting Hydra Lotion

Yes, I am aware that it’s 1am for us UK-dwellers. But my boyfriend is away, and like the sentimental gooey person I am, I can’t sleep just yet. So, here’s the moisturiser I’ve been trying out for the last little while:

Blue/white pump of moisturiser

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This is part of the ‘Deep Cleanse Facial’ line, as you can see from the label there. I also have the foaming cleanser, which I may write about later, but I’ve used the moisturiser more at the moment so I’ll concentrate on that for now.

Although I know this is formulated for oily skin, I have to say straight away that this is VERY light. It feels good on the skin, and it’s not as magically-disappearing as a gel would be, but it still sinks into the skin without leaving a usual ‘moisturised’ feel. Of course, my combination skin might be slightly too normal for this one, and so I can’t say it’s a fault with the cream. But it might be better for younger teenage skin that isn’t really used to moisturiser yet – something like the Clinique Dramatically Different moisturising gel, which always gave me the same impression. With this Sanctuary cream, I’ve actually applied two layers in the morning on occasion.

The smell is a typical Sanctuary mixture of lovely natural things – no complaints there. I quite like moisturiser to smell a little natural and medicinal sometimes; I’ve been a hardcore LUSH fan for so long, I’m well used to it! This smells like a high-end version of a LUSH product. However, being so natural, there isn’t any SPF in this whatsoever.

Although it does feel light after application, a little of this initially goes a long way, which is fortunate given that this 50ml pump (nice and hygenic!) will cost you about £13 in Boots. Again, this would be great for someone with skin relatively new to skincare and makeup. Though having said that, I honestly haven’t noticed a fantastically mattifying effect with this, in spite of the fact that my skin is probably a lot less oily than its target market! It’s nice, and doesn’t make me more oily, but I’d say that putting ‘matte’ in such big letters on the label is probably optimistic on Sanctuary’s part.
It definitely doesn’t break me out or anything, though, so that’s a plus for those prone to acne. I am prone to it, even though I’m not a super oil slick, and I’m pretty sure this is risk-free on me.

One final thing, though: the one main reason that I would actively NOT recommend this cream is that, even when I’ve left it quite a while before applying makeup, any rubbing (even just gently applying liquid foundation) will cause the residue left on your skin (which, in fairness, isn’t hugely noticeable until then) to ball up and come off. It’s not a great look, and it’s annoying if you’re in a hurry with your makeup. I guess the residue is supposed to be the ‘matte’ part. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t work – I’ve rubbed it off!

Considering that I was feeling pretty flush when I bought this, and it was a toss-up between this and a La Roche-Posay cream, I’m thinking I should’ve got the other one. Sanctuary’s cleansers have done wonders for me in the past, but I’m really not feeling this fairly mediocre moisturiser.

September 10, 2011

Clinique Lipstick!

Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick   

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This isn’t so much a review of any one lipstick, as just a general post about them. I notice that on YouTube, blogs, etc. people hardly ever mention Clinique lipstick, and it seems that they’re quite overlooked. In my opinion this is a pity, as my Clinique lipsticks are probably my most-reached-for tubes, overall! I think that if you walk into a department store wanting to treat yourself to a new lippy, you’re probably more likely to head for a brand that feels ‘more high-end’, even though Clinique is a department-store brand, and can be quite pricey. Maybe it’s to do with their simple packaging and lack of scent.

Anyway, the reasons that I love them so!

Firstly, their range of colours is simply amazing. If you look at the Clinique lipstick stand, there are (usually) LOADS – the colours are very varied, and they’re all beautiful pigments. They come in a variety of formulations/textures; “High Impact Colour” (a classic), “Colour Surge Butter Shine” (pictured), and “Long Last”, to name a couple. The tubes are differently designed for each one.

Secondly, the actual product is really nice to use! I have a “Long Last” one, and in other brands, something that’s meant to be long-lasting is basically a codeword for “drying”. But not with this – it lasts for ages, as it says, but more importantly it fades off really well. It doesn’t leave a horrible dry stain, it just gracefully fades away to a shimmer. The “Long Last” one is actually one of, if not my only, favourite lipstick of all time – it’s the shade ‘Bamboo Pink’, and the finish is “Soft Shine”. Of course, they have matte finishes too. (Take note, Dior!) If I don’t know what to put on my lips, or if I’m wanting a really natural look, this is my “my own lips but better” shade that never fails. Also, as it spends a lot of its time in my handbag, I’ve used it when I really wanted some lipbalm for my dry lips; of course, it wasn’t as good, but it still made my lips feel better and didn’t look ugly on dry skin.

Two others that I have (and could find just now!) are ‘Citrus Rose’ in the “High Impact” formulation, and another “Long Last” one in ‘Blushing Nude’. They are both also reached for all the time, as staples that I’d hate to be without!

So, if you’ve overlooked Clinique lipsticks until now, give them a go whenever you’re next wandering between the makeup counters! I honestly guarantee there’ll be a shade that you fall in love with!

By the way, Clinique really should be paying me for such a glowing review – but they’re not, as should be obvious from the small-ness of my blog 🙂

September 5, 2011

Review: No7 Shine Free Makeup Base Primer

White tube of primer

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This review is a slightly expanded version of the one that I posted on under the same name.

Although I read a few fairly damning reviews of this product a while ago, I did want to try a mattifying primer that wasn’t too expensive, and so I decided to give it a try anyway.
I experienced many of the same issues that I know lots of people have with this product – the primer can go on patchy; it takes ‘mattifying’ to the point of drying/flaking; the product balls up if you touch it too much, etc. I was very patient, and tried applying it in every way possible!
The best way, as far as I found, was to take TINY amounts, and pat it gently into the skin, only rubbing the smallest amount possible to prevent any problems with the texture. The matte effect can be felt immediately, with the primer almost sticking to the fingers because of its dryness. This results in a very patchy effect (no matter how careful I am!) if I use any powder foundation over it – my MAC Studio Fix powder turned into a cakey, flakey horror!
It is a bit better with liquid foundation, but then I found that it didn’t give a lasting matte effect throughout the day. To be honest, my Revlon ColourStay foundation (without anything underneath it) has a much better mattifying effect than this primer + any of my other foundation. Unless I were to apply loads of it (in which case it would be sticky and ball up), it is not hugely effective; and it is SO difficult to get the hang of application that I just cannot say that it’s worth it.
If you’re able to make it work, then there are a few good things about it. It’s hypo-allergenic and scent free, for those with sensitive skin, and a little goes a long way – if you like it, the 40ml tube will last you ages.
I do try to use this occasionally, when I feel a primer urge! But I wouldn’t purchase again. I’d rather just touch up makeup or carry blotting tissues than spend ages in the morning messing around with this, sadly.

September 4, 2011

Review: e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturiser

Black tube of tinted moisturiser

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I am constantly looking out for a really good tinted moisturiser, preferably for less than the famed (but out of my price range) Laura Mercier one. I know, I know – e.l.f. is not likely to be it. But I decided to give this one from their studio line a whirl anyway. As with almost all of their studio products, it cost me £3.50, and this tube contains 25ml of product.

I have to say, when I first got it out of the box I thought they’d sent me the wrong shade. It looked so orange in the tube, I immediately gave up a small bit of the hope I’d had! I am ridiculously pale, and so am almost always the lightest shade in any face makeup – usually there’s no need for me to even think about it. I’d ordered the “Porcelain” shade, which is apparently for “very fair” skin; if that’s very fair, the good people at e.l.f. would probably think I was a vampire.
However, I squeezed out a bit and stuck it on my hand. Obviously, as it’s tinted moisturiser, you can afford a bit of shade leeway – a bit too light or dark will not be half as noticeable as it would be in a foundation. It did still look a bit orange even when blended, but I decided to ignore that for the time being.

The next thing that struck me was the scent. It smells absolutely gorgeous, and not with the usual synthetic sweetness of e.l.f. products. I can’t decide whether it smells of aloe and cucumber (as it says these are in it) or a kind of cool-toned cocoa butter smell. Anyway, it’s lovely!

From my attempts to apply it, it does go onto the skin smoothly. It has a nice texture, and feels like it actually could function as a moisturiser. However, whether this is just the product, or the fact that the shade was so wrong, it really didn’t even out my skin tone at all. It made it look really quite ugly and unnatural, and seemed to somehow highlight any tone irregularities or shadows that I would have liked it to hide! I had to wash my face immediately; it looked simply horrible.

This is a very strange product, all in all. It smells so luxurious compared to their other scents, and feels lovely. But it just doesn’t do the job, and there’s a whole lot of girls and guys with skin as pale, or paler, than mine who just aren’t catered for at all here. Normally I’d give away things that I don’t like, but to be honest I don’t want to give such a rubbish present to any of my friends – I think this one will be getting binned. Sorry e.l.f.!

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